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New musical puts a pop concert twist on the stories of Henry VIII’s wives

PUBLISHED: 18:01 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:39 12 July 2018

The cast of Six visiting Tudor Norwich at The Maids Head Hotel.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018

The cast of Six visiting Tudor Norwich at The Maids Head Hotel. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Archant 2017

New musical SIX mixes a history lesson with a pop concert to give a fresh new take on the stories of Henry VIII’s six wives.

Divorced, Beheaded, Live! is the strapline for the show which sees the famous Tudor queens portrayed like never before as they are transformed into sassy pop princesses.

Anne Boleyn, played by Millie O’Connell, has a Lily Allen type of vibe meanwhile Beyoncé is one of the inspirations behind the portrayal of Catherine of Aragon, played by Jarneia Richard-Noel, as the show uses pop music to delve into the backgrounds of each of the women who married Henry VIII.

The production is a Kenny Wax and Global Musicals co-production with Norwich Theatre Royal and Norwich Playhouse, and the latest version of the show is set to premiere at Norwich Playhouse on Wednesday night.

The cast of Six visiting Tudor Norwich at The Maids Head Hotel.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018The cast of Six visiting Tudor Norwich at The Maids Head Hotel. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Ahead of opening night the six actresses playing the queens took time out at Norwich’s historic Maids Head Hotel to talk about the show.

“We are going to shake up every single perspective you have of the queens,” said Maiya Quansah-Breed, who plays Catherine Parr.

“The show gives a new innovative vision of these queens and how they can be portrayed, for example I am like the Alicia Keys of the group.”

The cast of Six visiting Tudor Norwich at The Maids Head Hotel.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018The cast of Six visiting Tudor Norwich at The Maids Head Hotel. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Aimie Atkinson, who plays Catherine Howard, said: “It’s a completely different take on a historical event that you think you know. It’s rather special. I think adding the pop element to the show, it’s really opening it up to a wider audience.”

Alexia McIntosh, who plays Anne of Cleves, added: “In school you just learn ‘divorced, beheaded died,’ you don’t really go into the background of the women, you just kind of know them because of who their husband was so it’s really nice to be able to delve into their character and background and see more in depth what they were about.”

Natalie Paris, who plays Jane Seymour, said: “There are so many words to describe the show. It’s fun, it’s fresh, it’s for everyone. The facts are there for all the history buffs out there that love the Tudors, the story is there, but it brings such a new, fresh, fun element to the show and with the kind of pop concert vibes that so many people can connect with.”

The cast of Six visiting Tudor Norwich at The Maids Head Hotel.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018The cast of Six visiting Tudor Norwich at The Maids Head Hotel. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

News of the show was originally announced in March to herald a new chapter in the history of Norwich Playhouse and Norwich Theatre Royal.

At the time it was announced Norwich Playhouse - which the Theatre Royal had run under a management contract since 2003 - would legally merge with the Theatre Royal.

SIX, which sold out during a initial preview run in London, has been penned by former Cambridge University students Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss.

The cast of Six visiting Tudor Norwich at The Maids Head Hotel.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018The cast of Six visiting Tudor Norwich at The Maids Head Hotel. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Following the musical’s debut in Norwich it will tour to Cambridge, Edinburgh and the West End.

SIX opens at Norwich Playhouse on Wednesday and runs until Sunday. To book, visit www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk

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